birchwood ceremonies

re-naming Script sample

Welcome to this most exciting day! My name is Chris Kirby and I am an Officiant from Humanist Canada. We gather to mark important milestones together. Whatever the ritual or ceremony, we believe that it is important to honour the journeys we experience together. Today is such a day. 

Today we recognize a new name and celebrate a life of integrity for a person many of us have known and loved for years. Today we celebrate with a ritual of naming and an affirmation of self.

Names are an interesting part of what it means to be human. Throughout history, cultures have developed different rituals of naming. While we may be most familiar with a line written on a birth certificate, the practices worldwide are as numerous as the cultures who create them. Some have names that are only used by the family and their formal name is used only by those

outside of the family. Still others adopt a nickname by which they are forever called. Names are

not always cast in stone at birth. Some cultures do not name their children until some attribute is discovered about the child. And the name might change again when the child becomes an adult.

Today, we are celebrating the adoption of a new name that reflects a truth that has been hidden

but is now revealed. Today, we celebrate a new name, a deeper truth, in a journey just beginning. Today we are part of creating the sacred space that allows our loved one to live their new identity fully in our community.

Will you please come forward?

We know this has been a long journey for you, as someone who has desired for many years to

live outwardly as you feel your true identity to be.

It is an honour to be with you today, and to ask you: What is your new name?

They answer:<new name, first middle and last> 

This name now symbolizes all that you truly are and are becoming. I see you and I recognize you as <new name>. Bear this name as a reflection of your true self. Share this name as a reflection of your true self. Offer this name as a reflection of your true self.


       [To the guests]

Today is also a turning point for all of us, for as we have known and loved this person, we now have the opportunity to know and love <new name>. It is an opportunity to act as witnesses; to

 put our beliefs into action as we welcome all of who <new name> is to this community. And so, I ask you:

Will you do all that you can to welcome <new name> into this community?

The guests answer: We will.

We come together in this space created by those who have gathered to recognize, to claim that it is so, and to celebrate <new name>’s transition into a fuller expression of self. From image to lively expression in words, actions and adornment, <new name> moves outward to be formally

embraced by us, family and friends.

(Option for presentation of token or gift)

<new name>, as a symbol of our welcome and our love we present you with this gift, and we re- affirm your place of belonging here among us.

 (Option for reading)

Poem: “how to love a person” by AJ Tigarian

just press your palm to their palm warm and full of possibility

skip across their soul like

a flat stone flung from the river’s edge and then sink into them

come to rest amid the silt and debris wiggle your toes in the particles

of everything they are

you don’t have to do anything different you don’t have to try harder

you don’t have to re-mold yourself into something that makes you somehow less you

and neither do they.

stand beside them

as they meet their true self

let them introduce you to their “me”

as they find it, one bit at a time

or all at once.

gather up their tears, their smiles,

their joys and their discomforts

when they can’t carry them anymore remind them where they’re going

go along with them, whenever they ask witness their struggles and triumphs

open your heart and your arms

press your cheek to their cheek

and love them more when the sun rises than you did when it set on the day before

(Option for closing remarks and direction)

Friends and family, please join me in welcoming <new name>.